VARs play an important role in IT departments throughout the world. In keeping up with the latest technological trends and working with a variety of manufacturers, resellers act as trusted external consultants helping IT administrators evaluate hardware/software providers and customising solutions that serve the best interest of their clients.
An often overlooked, but incredibly valuable component of any IT infrastructure, is remote access.
Though not as sexy as virtualisation or cloud computing, remote access performs a valuable service that can help IT departments improve productivity, save money and drive efficiencies.
Remote access solutions also provide universal opportunity for VARs to increase their own revenue.
So, as a VAR, how do you know when a remote access opportunity is present? The following provides a guideline to help begin to a discussion with clients about remote access.
Recognising the need for a new remote access and control solution
It’s common for enterprises to use one or many remote access solutions. As is frequently the case with technology solutions, however, organisations may not be taking full advantage of the software, or they have not discovered a single solution that fully meets their needs, especially as IT and the data centre continuously evolve. There are some signs to watch for to determine if it’s time for a refresh.
To identify the need for a new remote access and control solution, here are some questions you can ask your customers:
• Is your client using more than one remote access solution?
• Is your client looking to improve efficiencies, perhaps by consolidating support centers or IT resources?
• Does the client need to support different types of devices and end users across numerous locations?
• Does the customer need to adhere to compliance standards such as PCI?
• Does the customer’s business include specialised machines that may require maintenance such as point-of-sales terminals, ATMs or gas pumps?
If the customer answers “yes” to any of these questions, that should open the door for a conversation about the client’s remote access capabilities.
What about security?
VARs should understand the security requirements of their customers’ organisations – beyond compliance. Though remote access offers many benefits, there’s an inherent risk that can exist in the technology. A recent Verizon business report found that remote access services account for 88% of all breaches leveraging hacking techniques.
This presents an opportunity for VARs, as they can recommend and implement a better solution that provides enhanced security, while creating another revenue opportunity in the data centre.
Must-Haves for Remote Access
In most enterprise environments, remote access solutions will need to meet the following security requirements:
• Multiple layers of protection: Usernames and passwords aren’t enough. Effective and secure remote control software must provide encryption, manage user access and manage user rights. These extra layers will help protect against hacking and exposure of critical data.
• Integration: Seamless integration not only with a company’s own security policies, but also with industry compliance requirements, will ensure loopholes are closed and compliance is enabled.
• Mobile support: The solution must extend to provide secure access across networks and devices to ensure the organisation can support an increasingly mobile workforce.
• Documentation capabilities: When a remote session is complete, documentation of what took place should be captured and stored for future auditing. This documentation can also be used for training.
Beyond security, a remote access solution should also provide the following:
• A rich suite of features – screen sharing, mouse/keyboard controls, file transfers, chat, scripting – so support personnel are equipped to efficiently resolve a diverse set of problems.
• The ability to support hundred or thousands of users and machines from a single user console regardless of devices, operating system or network.
• The ability to support unique and emerging technologies, from ATM machines and point-of-sales terminals to virtual machines and mobile devices.
With this mix of security, accessibility and ease-of-use, the customer will find that it has a remote access and control solution better suited for the needs of the modern data center.
The value for VARs
Naturally, offering a new remote access and control software to a customer presents a revenue opportunity. But providing them with a scalable technology that can grow over time gives VARs a chance to create a long-lasting source of revenue, without the need to rip-and-replace the solution as the organisation’s needs change.
And as a VAR, isn’t that music to your ears?
This was first published in September 2012